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Surprise: Video isn’t the most important element of communication

Surprise: Video isn’t the most important element of communication

Believe it or not, video is not the center of the universe. It’s shocking, I know.

Sure, I like my HD camera, studio lighting, and green-screen toys as much as the next. But when it comes to delivering a business message online, one can miss the point by focusing only on making a video look good.

Instead, true value in business communications comes from leveraging all the tools at your disposal in the technology toolbox. Video is nice, but it works best in the online world when you present it to viewers in combination with other types of data.

That means showcasing video in environments where video does not always have to be the star. An on-screen interface that incorporates PowerPoint slides or screen-sharing capabilities, for instance, can serve to amplify the messages that executives make in their presentation.

Likewise, viewers can participate more extensively if they can elect to download a supporting document offered on-screen or type a question that can be posed to a presenter during a live video event.

So don’t assume that the centerpiece of the online experience has to be video. An amalgamation of technology features may be better suited to fostering better business communications.

In a fourth quarter 2013 survey of 1,007 executives, Wainhouse Research asked respondents to cite the relative importance of 11 different technologies in terms of their ability to make online communications more “engaging.” Included on the list were live video, on-demand video, e-mail links to submit questions, instant messaging, on-screen quizzes and a range of other features that can be embedded in a typical online event.

The verdict on which technology feature is most engaging? Well, let’s take a look at the data.

Among all survey respondents, audio is the technology cited most frequently as either “very important” or “somewhat important” in creating an engaging online communications experience. Overall, 83% cited audio’s importance in fostering online engagement.

Ranking near the bottom of this list is the technology feature of “on-screen quizzes,” cited as “very important” or “somewhat important” to online engagement by 74% of all respondents.

This means that fewer than 10 percentage points separate the top-ranking technology feature to the one rated 10th overall. So, when we try to determine which technology feature is the most engaging, we can only draw one conclusion: all of them are.

For online technology vendors, the good news is that end-users see value in features that are unique to the online environment. Eighty percent say that “links to downloadable documents” are important to fostering engaging online communication. Similarly, 76% describe “apps to rate, recommend, and share content” as important, as well.

But I can see where such opinions can be problematic for corporate videophiles. Clearly, the value of online presentations rests not solely on the shoulders of video but instead relies on the sum of the technology parts. If we want individuals to pay attention to our online events, the clear path to winning viewer engagement lies in leveraging multiple data types to deliver more information via a single viewer interface.

Recognizing the importance of integrating multiple forms of data in online presentations should influence the types of technology platforms that organizations consider for deployment. Unfortunately, some executives may be satisfied in just using a platform that emphasizes the distribution of online video content— akin to Google’s YouTube service.

But understand that such a strategy for video-only adoption runs the risk of short-changing your organization in the long run. Even though you—as a video professional—may not be skilled at leveraging every technology feature enabled by an online platform, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that these additional onscreen elements can be used to foster communications engagement.

At the end of the day, videographers are storytellers. Online video platforms can do more than help you distribute your video. They can arm you with tools that can help you tell a story outside of the traditional confines of the broadcast studio and video editing bay.

Take the time to learn how real-time interaction can inject new life into a staid video presentation. Study ways that PowerPoint and screen-sharing and even polling and chat can be leveraged to amplify the message being delivered in the presentation video. Develop new strategies for leveraging information sharing and social media to draw new audiences to your presentation.

Software makes it possible to develop a whole communications universe that builds upon the power of video. There are many ways you can and should explore and enable the world beyond video.

Steve Vonder Haar is senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at

What is really driving enterprise video adoption?

Whether it is for entertainment or information, video has become a regular feature in our personal lives. Most of us watch multiple videos daily, on our smart phone, tablets, TV or PC. Businesses have started to capitalize on this fact; streaming video is emerging as a practical and reliable tool in corporate communications within organizations across all sectors. Government and educational bodies have made their own advances in the adoption of video technologies, but it is the corporate world that stands out as the forerunner. A recent report by Wainhouse Research shows that there are five key market trends driving this momentum in enterprise video adoption. Here are the five identified trends:

  • Engagement
  • Employee Generated Content
  • Mobile
  • Integration
  • Security

Visit for more context and specifics on each trend.

—Martin Nurser, VP, Qumu EMEA